I was mightily relieved when I scored 100% on this portion of the U.S. Citizenship Test . Katie, who studied American History this year did as well.
Katie did well because she’s a pretty good student. I did well, not because of my expensive private Catholic school education but because my father is a fanatic about U.S. History. He tortured my brother and I through every dinner hour from the time we could answer his questions, incorrectly, until we left to get married, with history quizzes.
We thought he was some reincarnation of Attila the Hun. What he did manage to do though was instill a love of history and facts in both of us. My brother actually majored in History in college and I think in graduate school too (boy that was a long time ago).
One of the recurring questions that I never failed to get wrong was; name the five beaches of Normandy. He would ask, I would name four, forget one and I was told to look it up. Three months later the whole ordeal would happen again. I had a mental block about those five beaches. This was particularly annoying to dad because he loves WWII history and knew every little thing about the war on both fronts (ask me anything about the Battle of the Bulge, Midway Island or the importance of the Russian front – go ahead, ask).
So one day I am taking a killer exam in a Marketing class in college. This professor was known for being difficult and many in the class were failing. I wasn’t but I wasn’t exactly at the top of the heap either. I finish the exam and see that there is an extra credit question at the bottom of the test. Name the five beaches of Normandy. Thanks to my father’s
constant harassment persistence I was able to joyfully write out, Omaha, Utah, Juno, Gold and Sword.
When I received the exam back next class I saw that I had received a perfect score. Even though I hadn’t. He then announced to the whole class (about 150 students) that I was the only one in the class who knew the answer. This ended up in everyone receiving an hour and half lecture on the importance of being well read, well educated, knowledgeable about history and anything else that popped into his head that day. He was on a roll about how little any of students knew about basic grammar, history, science and math. You know that stuff you are supposed to master BEFORE college.
None of this had anything to do with Marketing.
My father considered it a personal triumph and will brag about his helping me do well in Marketing to this day.
I transfered to the English Department.
I wonder how your average college class would do on that citizenship test.